Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Nitin Deckha

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Nitin

September 28, 2008 -

OB:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

ND:

My first publications were two short stories, “Wimbledon” and “Venus in Aries,” both published in Bolo! Bolo! A Collection of Writings by Second Generation South Asians living in North America, edited by Kitchen Table Collective. (Toronto: SAPNA, 2000).

OB:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

ND:

As a college and university teacher, my Septembers always begin with the chaos of the new school year and the promise it brings. As a teacher at Humber College, I recently met a twentysomething student originally from Cairo who is taking my Globalization class. In a discussion after class on his observations of life in Cairo vs. Toronto, he remarked that in Toronto, anything is possible. In Cairo, so much was dependent on established social networks; he felt in Toronto and by extension Canada, “anyone can become anything.” That sense of possibility and ambition motivates my collection of stories in Shopping for Sabzi and is shaping the contours of my current novel project.

OB:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

ND:

Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Vision, Carol Shields’ Larry’s Party and Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces.

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

ND:

It would be a simple room near amenities such as water, trees, good grocery store, café, bakery and trees in park or forest.

OB:

William Faulkner was once asked what book he wished he had written; he chose Moby Dick (with Winnie the Pooh as a close second). Is there a book that you wish you had written?

ND:

I’d have to say Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy.

OB:

Is there a book that you think you should have read by now but haven’t?

ND:

Marcel Proust’s A La Recherche de Temps Perdu.

OB:

What are you reading right now?

ND:

I have a number of books on my reading list: Londonstani by Gautam Malkani, as well the newest TOK, featuring the stories by the Diaspora Dialogues program.

OB:

Do you have a specific readership in mind when you write?

ND:

No, not really. I suppose I like readers who are looking for a richer, more layered, emotional and intellectual experience.

OB:

What are you working on right now?

ND:

I’m sketching out a novel project that deals with ambition, success and personal fulfillment across two generations of a South Asian family rooted in the Toronto suburbs.

OB:

Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to get published?

ND:

I would say that it is important to find and develop ways to stay confident, to create moments where you reassert to yourself why you are writing, and set a workable daily writing goal that you can meet (at least most of the time).

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